Founded in 2006 as a salute to Connor Goodwin, who triumphed after 2-1/2 years of cancer treatment as a preschooler, Connor's Heroes® developed out of one family's struggle with childhood cancer.
Follow our journey from being established to today.
Connor’s Cancer Diagnosis
Connor was diagnosed with leukemia (ALL) when he was 22 months old. His sister, Emily, was just 6 weeks old at the time. He endured 2-1/2 years of treatment, both in and out of the hospital. Throughout his treatment, Connor and his family were surrounded by the support of family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others in their community and throughout the country.
Connor’s last day of treatment for leukemia
We celebrate Connor's "other birthday" with a cake each year. We truly know how lucky we are that we are able to keep celebrating this milestone.
Connor’s Heroes Foundation was established
During Connor's treatment, his parents met many other families who were not fortunate enough to have the community of support that they had. After learning more about other organizations in their community, and that there were still many unmet needs of families, Connor's parents decided to start Connor's Heroes Foundation as a salute to all of the HEROES in their lives and a way to help others through their childhood cancer journey.
Our first fundraiser
"The World Cup Challenge," which kicked off on June 8, 2006, at Bandito's Burrito Lounge, was our first fundraiser. Connor's favorite superhero, Spiderman, even made a surprise visit!
Our first mention in the press
With this great cover story in West End's Best, we had to move quickly to build our website (many thanks to PUNCH), design informational materials, and formalize our first program.
Official Launch of Heroes Bags and Backpacks
Connor gave out his first Heroes Backpack to his best friend he made during treatment, Owen. The Heroes Bags and Backpacks program officially kicked off in January 2007, at the same time we launched our official website.
Providing Musical Experiences
In partnership with Innsbrook After Hours, we provided many families with free concert tickets and sometimes the opportunity to meet the musicians too!
Anthem Quest for the Cure
Our largest fundraiser since we started, this event included a professional treasure hunt through Carytown and culminated with a Richmond Kickers soccer game. Proceeds benefitted the Jamie Hess Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Fund.
C4: Childhood Cancer Community Consortium
Connor's Heroes and Robyn Dillon (social worker at CHOR at VCU) initiated C4: Childhood Cancer Community Consortium, in an effort to bring together all of the various organizations who support children with cancer and their families and to create a resource book that families could utilize during treatment and beyond.
Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund is established
We established the first Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund in the Department of Pediatrics at the VCU School of Medicine and VCU Massey Cancer Center. The fund will be utilized exclusively to support pediatric cancer research with the ultimate goal of recruiting a nationally recognized pediatric cancer researcher to VCU.
Press Release Announcing Research Fund
This press release announced our initial gift to establish the Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund. So began, our efforts to find cures and improve treatments for children with cancer.
Volunteers Come Together to Pack Heroes Bags and Backpacks
With help from about 40 volunteers, we assembled 80 backpacks for patients and 80 tote bags for the parents of just-diagnosed children.
Tommy Hilfiger Supports Connor’s Heroes
Tommy Hilfiger, Alex Garfield, and Connor spent some time in front of the cameras to encourage everyone to "be a hero" to children with cancer.
Connor’s Heroes Donates $60,510.40 to Childhood Cancer Research
Connor's Heroes Foundation presented a check for $60,510.40 to the VCU Massey Cancer Center. The money was split between the Jamie Hess Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Research Fund and the Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund.
On Track for the Cure
Connor's great friends and inspiration during treatment, The Sam Bush Band, and The Waybacks held a benefit concert at the Tracks at the Science Museum. Proceeds were directed to the Pediatric Cancer Research Endowment Fund.
Christmas in July
Connor's Heroes' volunteers visit the outpatient pediatric oncology clinic to spread some "holiday" cheer. We give a gift bag to every child in the clinic -- whether they are a patient, sibling, or friend there for moral support. We also do crafts with them while they're in the waiting room.
Golf Tournaments Support Connor’s Heroes
The PJ Gaier Memorial Golf and the Village Bank Golf Tournaments combined raised over $40,000 for Connor's Heroes this year!
Grand Opening of the Room of Possibilities
The Room of Possibilities was created to provide a comforting and healing room for bone marrow transplant (BMT) patients and families. This new room offers a desktop and laptop computer, large screen television and DVD player, Wii game system, board games, books, and arts and crafts supplies.
Connor’s Heroes Night at the Flying Squirrels Game
We treated Connor's Heroes families to free tickets and "acorn bucks" to make it a great day for everyone. Five childhood cancer Superheroes had the opportunity to throw out a first pitch and one also got to sing "Take me out to the ballgame" for the crowd. The first 2,500 youth fans even received a Metal Lunchbox presented by Connor's Heroes!
Our First Parents’ Night Out
With the help of Kangaroo Jac's, Romp N Roll - West End, and Capital Ale House, Connor's Heroes hosted its first Parent's Night Out. While the kids bounced around with their Sidekicks, we treated their parents to a yummy meal and some much-needed "grown-up" time.
Superheroes & Sidekicks Program Launched
We recognized that patients and their siblings just need to have some fun and try to forget about cancer for a little while. This program is designed to ease the burdens of treatment by pairing community volunteer Sidekicks with children who are battling cancer and their siblings. We were so grateful to the Altria Companies Employee Community Fund for a grant of $15,000 to help us get started.
Featured in a National Magazine
National magazine, "Woman's World" featured Connor's Heroes, its co-founder Lisa Goodwin, and namesake, Connor in it's "Doing Good" section.
Heroes Creating Art
In conjunction with The Heroes Art Ball, we hold several art sessions with our Heroes and professional artists. This informal "art therapy" is fun for all!
The Heroes Art Ball - our first gala
To celebrate our 5th anniversary, we brought our childhood cancer Heroes and their families together with our donor community for a magical night! Our Heroes were so proud to have their artistic masterpieces sold during a live auction and we all loved dancing together and celebrating life!
Pediatric Oncology Prom
We collaborated with the hospital, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and ASK and rolled out the red carpet to provide the First Annual Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Prom for all ages. By holding the Prom at the hospital, many hospitalized patients were able to attend. We provided dresses and suits to anyone who needed them and we danced the night away.
DiggityFEST - a kids music festival
What better way to commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month than with a family-friendly children's music festival? National recording star, Dan Zanes, headlined the First Annual event.
Back to School, Back to Giving
To commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we initiated this campaign to help fund our Heroes Bags and Backpacks program. We were blown away by Eagle Scout candidate, Christian Colwell, who was inspired to raise over $1,700 and collect enough donations to fill 50 backpacks.
Lunch Bunch Launches
In collaboration with CJs Thumbs Up Foundation, we are providing a healthy lunch to all patients and caregivers on the pediatric inpatient floor of the hospital.
St. Christophers Students Adopt Connor’s Heroes
St. Christopher's boys, Junior Kindergarten through 12th grade, came together as ONE to pack over 80 backpacks with their donations. They also raised over $1,000 and donated over $1,700 in gift cards.
Connor’s Heroes at the Circus
We treated 10 of our childhood cancer patients and their families to a behind-the-scenes visit with the circus, then had dinner, and enjoyed the full show!
Our new website launches!
We are so excited to have our new website. We hope you like it too!
Once again, thousands of people spent an afternoon dancing, clapping and singing at DiggityFest. Thousands of dollars were raised for Connor's Heroes during September's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Named Connor’s Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund
The endowed fund is fully funded with a million dollars. Connor's Heroes, Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU and VCU Massey Cancer Center begin the search for an endowed chair to lead doctors in research for treatments, cures and prevention of childhood cancer.
2014 Heroes Art Ball
Our Heroes Art Ball continued to bring people together in support of our Hero families.
Introducing Our Care Journal
Much like the baby journal, this journal has a page for each day in the bone marrow transplant process. Caregivers record the ups and downs and milestones during their child's treatment.
Connor Interviewed on WRIC
Connor talked about his experience with leukemia (ALL) and reminded us how easy it is for us to be a hero to a child with cancer.
2014 Annual Giving
The post office had many surprises for us. We received financial gifts from hundreds of people. Best of all were the holiday cards showing the smiling faces of some of the children who are part of the Connor's Heroes community.
Lisa wrote a blog reflecting on the nine years since his last treatment. It was one of our most popular blog posts.
2015 Heroes Art Ball
For the first time ever, the Heroes Art Ball raised $100,000 (net)!
Volunteers started a Young Professionals Group. Their first event was a Sunday Funday. Hero children and their families worked on seasonal crafts and projects for the upcoming Heroes Art Ball.
Volunteer Program Committee
Several parents of our Heroes volunteered for our Program Committee. Their children are in different stages of their cancer journeys. Together, they will develop activities and improve the services for the families.
This year's event was special because it was the Diggity Dudes' farewell performance.
Dr. Corey Named Endowed Chair
The Connor's Heroes Foundation Board of Directors, along with co-founders Steve and Lisa Goodwin, welcomed Seth J. Corey, M.D., M.P.H, as the first endowed chair in pediatric cancer research. Opening a new chapter to finding cures and improving treatments for cancer's youngest patients.
Ultimate 80s Bash
Our Young Professionals Group hosted their first gala event, The Ultimate 80s Bash. Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual, the night feature live music and lots of leg-warmers and neon colors.
Tacky Lights Tour
Thanks to a grant from Altria Companies Employee Community Fund for our Superhero and Sidekick programs, we treated families to a tour of Richmond's tacky lights throughout the city.
2015 Annual Giving
This year's theme was "Believe." We asked if you believed a community of heroes can help a child through cancer. You said "yes!" This year's campaign raised more money than 2014.
10 Year Anniversary
2016 marks the 10-year anniversary of the founding of Connor's Heroes.
2016 Heroes Art Ball
The night raised more than $200,000 including $10,000 for a piece of Hero's art.
Impressions of Courage
Families donate clothing to be a part of the art installation called "Impressions of Courage" - a 1,000-foot long banner printed with the clothes and names of cancer heroes - created by Art On Wheels.
Heroes of RVA
A photo series that ran on social media featuring the compelling stories of our patients, parents and caregivers.
$100,000 To Research
Our single, largest donation for pediatric cancer research conducted in Richmond.
2016 Annual Giving
Katie was the face for our annual giving campaign, raising money for our programs and research.
Cover of Metro Business
Reporter Katie Demeria interviewed Lisa, Callen's mom and Dr. Corey for a cover article about our pediatric cancer research fund.
2017 Heroes Art Ball
Thanks to sponsors (like Kaplan Voekler Cunningham & Frank PLC) and our generous guests, we raised $65,000 more than last year's Heroes Art Ball.
$250,000 Grant for Research
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation Innovation Award awarded the grant to Seth Corey, MD, MPH and Hrishikesh “Rishi” Mehta, PhD for the Connor's Heroes Pediatric Cancer Research Fund.